In a city full of young professionals, more Charlotte couples are considering prenups.
Prenuptial agreements, legal contracts that provide instruction on splitting assets in the case of a divorce, are on the rise. In a recent survey of lawyers, 51 percent reported an increase in millennial couples looking for prenups.
This makes sense considering that millennials are marrying later, and more women now out-earn their partners.
“I’m not in a relationship, but I wouldn’t get married without one,” a female business owner in her 30s told the Agenda. “I don’t believe marriage is explicitly built on love, it’s mostly a business partnership. Pending need for departure, contracts can minimize the mess.”
Another put it even more bluntly, “If you have any assets or your partner has any debt, you’re an idiot not to get a prenup.”
There’s a time and a place to bring up the prenup.
When bringing up the prenup, focus first and foremost on your partner’s comfort, suggests Wesley Ann Little, a Charlotte couples counselor. “I’d really recommend bringing it up at home or in a place where the person doesn’t feel trapped.”
Aka don’t bring it up in the car.
And no, you’re not doomed to fail at holy matrimony if you want a prenup and your future spouse doesn’t right away.
“It’s not inherently bad or good that people have differences around prenups,” says Little. “It’s just a time to slow down and understand what you’re signing, and understand that it’s something that can be negotiated between the two of you.”
Signing and negotiating can seem daunting, particularly if this is your first real experience with seeking legal counsel.
Though some may see prenups as unromantic, Nicole Sodoma, Managing Principal and Attorney at Sodoma Law, explains that they don’t have to be viewed as such.
“Do you have car insurance? Health insurance? Life insurance?” Sodoma asks. “While we hope we will never have to use those policies, or at least not for years to come, we research options, get the best deals, and pay our monthly premiums in the event we do. It’s OK to be cautiously optimistic. You can only control you.”
“I don’t think prenups mean you’re not truly in love or it ruins the sanctity of marriage — it’s the opposite,” said one woman who plans to get a prenup. “You love someone enough to understand life happens, and I love you enough now that I don’t want to ‘milk you dry’ in the event of the worst.”
If you’re dismissing the idea of a prenup, thinking it’s only for trust fund babies or big bank execs, think again.
“Prenups can be useful for anyone,” says Sodoma. “These types of agreements can be used to determine other issues as well such as inheritance, the royalties from that book you always hoped to write, how you are going to pay back student loans, and more.”
One note: Ethically, one lawyer can’t and shouldn’t be providing both parties with legal advice, though you can have one lawyer draft the agreement and provide it to the future spouse.
Not everyone agrees on prenups, but some view them as romantic.
“You can’t go into marriage with a plan to get out, no way would I get married to a girl that brings up a prenup,” says a guy in his 30s.
But another says, “If I was dating a guy who had his own business or lots of legacy family money, I don’t think I’d really be offended about creating a prenup as long as I agreed that it was fair.”
Some Charlotteans even go further, describing prenups as romantic.
“I think some people believe there has to be a lot of money at stake to even think about a prenup, but our maturity and life experiences were actually big motivators for us deciding to do this type of agreement,” says one woman. “Our prenup is simple. What each of us comes into the marriage with, and what we may accumulate individually, the other will have no access to if we divorce. We will have two joint financial ventures that will be required to be paid off equally. We have a joint credit card that we use for monthly purchases such as groceries, dinner and drinks, or travel, and that is paid off every month. For us, a prenup is romantic.”